Snuneymuxw Chief Mike Wyse and Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett sign a letter of understanding on Monday at the Snuneymuxw community gym in Nanaimo. (GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin)

Snuneymuxw sign letter of understanding with Canadian government

Minister says Canada committed to transfer of ‘Camp Nanaimo’ land

The Snuneymuxw First Nation and the Government of Canada put in writing a commitment to “real progress” on reconciliation.

Carolyn Bennett, minister of Crown-Indigenous relations, was at the Snuneymuxw community gym Monday to sign a letter of understanding with Snuneymuxw Chief Mike Wyse.

One of the action items out of letter is to advance an agreement to transfer ‘Camp Nanaimo’ federal government land near Vancouver Island University to Snuneymuxw.

“Transferring this to Snuneymuxw is an immediate priority opportunity that is within our grasp right now,” Wyse said. “I’m confident we can get this work done and move on.”

Some of the topics of the letter of understanding, according to a ministry press release, include matters under the Douglas Treaty of 1854 related to historic village sites, fishing and hunting rights; decision-making and governance over lands and resources; self-determination and self-government; fiscal relations; child and family protection; health; community planning and development; housing; and infrastructure.

Wyse said his First Nation’s history with Canada has been “full of disrespect and dishonour” of a treaty relationship, but he is optimistic about the meaning behind the letter of understanding.

“The Canadian policy of denial of our Snuneymuxw treaty rights has been the approach of the Canadian government for over 150 years – today this history of denial changes,” he said.

Bennett said the letter signifies commitment to “real progress” during a time when Canada moves from denial of rights to recognition of rights.

“The previous pathways that Canada had offered for renewing the relationship did not work for your people,” she said at Monday’s ceremony. “And so today we are embarking on a different path, one that will allow us to work towards new ways of honouring that historic treaty relationship and implementing Snuneymuxw First Nation aboriginal and treaty rights.”

Band councillor Erralyn Joseph, president of Snuneymuxw’s economic development corporation, Petroglyph Development Group, said it’s important to the First Nation to have land returned after unlawful expropriation of traditional territory.

“We’re one of the largest First Nations, but very land-poor,” she said. “The signing of the LOU today is a real, meaningful pathway to resolve those specific land claims which will see the return of our sacred village sites that were promised under our Douglas treaty.”

Joseph suggested more reserve land is needed. Asked about economic development potential, she said Petroglyph is “one vehicle” for development and is prepared to be a leader in that process. She said Snuneymuxw leaders, the City of Nanaimo, VIU and others are “working to achieve a shared vision for these lands … to really forge a new path forward in how we can develop these lands together.”

Wyse said in a press release that newly reserved lands could “build opportunities for economic reconciliation and improved resources and services for all of our citizens, and especially with our partners, the City of Nanaimo and Vancouver Island University.”

RELATED: Canadian government, Snuneymuxw celebrate $49M settlement



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Victoria student out $600 for lack of e-bike insurance blames confusing rules

B.C. regulation says e-bike motors must turn off if rider stops pedalling, or bike must be insured

Bus crash survivor petitions Justin Trudeau to fix road where classmates died

UVic student’s petition well over halfway to 5k signature goal

Expect rain in normal Vancouver Island intervals, but bigger buckets

Weather Network predicts a typical amount of rainy days this fall on Vancouver Island

Rain raises water levels in Cowichan Lake

Possibility that pumps could be shut down soon

Central Saanich strawberry farmer reports bumper crop

Strawberry season could last well into October

‘I shouldn’t have done it,’ Trudeau says of brownface photo

Trudeau says he also wore makeup while performing a version of a Harry Belafonte song

35 of 87 dogs in 2018 Williams Lake seizure were euthanized due to behavioural issues, BCSPCA confirm

The dogs did not respond to the behaviour modification and remained terrified of humans

Pumps at Cowichan Lake shut down

Recent rain raised water levels enough to halt need for emergency feed to Cowichan River

B.C. ‘tent city’ disputes spark call for local government autonomy

UBCM backs Maple Ridge after province overrules city

Break out the tiki torches: Open fires allowed again in B.C.’s coastal region

All open fires allowed effective at noon on Sept. 18

Man faces 11 charges after accidentally discharging bear spray around Victoria cops

Drugs, weapons found in wake of unintended downtown discharge

B.C. MLA calls on province to restrict vaping as first related illness appears in Canada

Todd Stone, Liberal MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson, introduced an anti-vaping bill in April

Most Read